Charlie Schmidt

Charlie Schmidt is an award-winning freelance science writer based in Portland, Maine. In addition to writing for Harvard Health Publishing, Charlie has written for Science magazine, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Environmental Health Perspectives, Nature Biotechnology, and The Washington Post.


Posts by Charlie Schmidt

Can a man with abnormal PSA and a negative diagnostic MRI avoid a prostate biopsy? It’s debatable

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Not long ago, an abnormal PSA reading would be followed right away by a standard biopsy to search for potential cancer in the prostate. During such a procedure, doctors take 10 to 12 samples of the prostate from various locations while looking at the gland with an ultrasound machine. These days, however, men with high […]

Highly accurate test reveals recurring prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

After being treated for prostate cancer, some men will experience a rise in PSA levels suggesting that new tumors lurk somewhere in the body. Finding these tiny cancerous deposits before they grow and spread any further is crucially important. But it’s also a challenge, since the budding tumors might be too small to see with […]

African American men respond better to treatments for advanced prostate cancer in clinical trials

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Racial differences have long been evident in prostate cancer statistics. In particular, African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer more often than white men, and they’re also nearly twice as likely to die of the disease. But new research also shows that African American men who receive the most advanced treatments for late-stage prostate […]

Diet and exercise limit heart disease risk in men undergoing hormonal treatments for advanced prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men with advanced prostate cancer are typically treated with drugs that prevent the body from making or using testosterone. A hormone (or an androgen, as it’s known), testosterone drives prostate cancer cells to grow faster, so shutting it down is essential to keeping the illness in check. About 600,000 men with advanced prostate cancer in […]

Hormonal therapy for aggressive prostate cancer: How long is enough?

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men weighing treatment options for intermediate- or high-risk cancer that is still localized to the prostate can face a tricky question. A standard approach in these cases is to give radiation to the prostate along with drugs that block testosterone, a hormone that makes the cancer cells grow faster. For how long should this hormone […]

Long-term statin use protects against prostate cancer death

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Statins and other drugs that lessen cardiovascular disease risk by lowering blood lipids rank among the world’s most prescribed medications. And for the men who take them, accumulating evidence has for years pointed to another added benefit: a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Now researchers are reporting that long-term statin use (more than 10 […]

Smoking tied to more aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

If you’re a smoker looking for another reason to quit, consider this: in addition to raising your risk of heart and lung disease, as well as cancers of the bladder and kidney, smoking could boost the odds that you will develop aggressive prostate cancer that metastasizes, or spreads through your body. That’s according to research […]

Investigators unveil metastatic prostate cancer’s genomic landscape

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Localized prostate cancer that is diagnosed before it has a chance to spread typically responds well to surgery or radiation. But when a tumor metastasizes and sends malignant cells elsewhere in the body, the prognosis worsens. Better treatments for men with metastatic prostate cancer are urgently needed. In 2018, scientists advanced toward that goal by […]

A new option for immunotherapy in metastatic prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Dividing cells face daunting challenges when replicating the billions of letters of DNA in their genomes. For instance, DNA letters in new cells can get mixed up, and then the affected genes don’t function correctly. To fix that problem, healthy cells can deploy so-called mismatch repair (MMR) genes that put scrambled DNA letters back in […]

Q&A with Dr. Daniel Rukstalis on prostatic urethral lift for enlarged prostates

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A new procedure that relieves symptoms without causing sexual side effects As men get older, their prostates often get bigger and block the flow of urine out of the bladder. This condition, which is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, causes bothersome symptoms. Since men can’t fully empty their bladders, they experience sudden and frequent urges to […]